2nd Annual Mt. Pulaski Washington Street Festival
June 29, 2013, Story and slideshow By Phil Bertoni, A Hollywood-scripted early-evening short, light rain punctuated by a beautiful rainbow in the eastern sky wonderfully cooled things down as hundreds enjoyed the 2nd annual Mt. Pulaski Washington Street Festival on the west side of the square in front of the Illinois Historic Site Courthouse.
Adults and teenagers, parents and their children, threw off "cabin fever" and came out to enjoy wonderful food, music and activities, capped off with a 5-K cancer-benefit run "Glowin' for Michael". Nearly 200 runners and walkers joined in to help 7-year old Michael Stauffer with his battle against T-cell lymphoma for which he has been undergoing treatment for several months. Michael is the son of David and Cynthia Stauffer of Mount Pulaski. He has a brother, Thomas, and a sister, Alyssa. He is a student at Zion Lutheran School in Mount Pulaski. The proceeds of the race will go to assist the family with their financial concerns.
The now-famous Mt. Pulaski Grade School 3rd Grade Class was on hand to announce their final "Courthouse Cash" total, which now has passed the $13,000 mark - "still accumulating, someone reported" - even though school has recessed for summer vacation over a month ago. The festival also concluded the 2nd annual Volunteer Work Week at the Mt Pulaski Courthouse with its newly-adopted moniker: "in celebration of our community, our courthouse, and our heritage". A Mt. Pulaski Courthouse Foundation has been organized to help with minor renovations, painting and cleaning - another famous state historic-site tourist facility that has been neglected during the past few years.
Evening highlights included music from Hair Cut Actual Band, Audra's Studio-of-Dance Cloggers, Abe and Mary Lincoln impersonators, "Twinkles" the balloon lady, and face painting by Chauntea Mason. There were kid’s activities on the courthouse lawn and in the street, a bounce house, an expertly-crafted stagecoach by Don Leonard on display, and old-fashion wagon rides by Dr. Luthin. In the Mt Pulaski Courthouse, tours were available, kids decorated Lincoln stove-piped hats, and there was a special Harry Hahn "Abe Lincoln" display along with several collages of people and events taken in and around the courthouse throughout the recent years.
The Mt Pulaski Museum was open for tours and offered cold water bottles and popcorn - where the latest Mt. Pulaski Township Historical Society quilt fundraiser was on display (crafted by Maxine Downing). Washington Street Merchants, including Salt Creek Attic, Vintage One, and Saddie’s Secret Place, were open for business throughout the evening.
Hilltop Catering by Mike and Jennifer Richner again offered brats and hot dogs, accepting donations to benefit the Courthouse Foundation, as did the Mt Pulaski City employees with their pulled-pork sandwiches. The Mt. Pulaski American Legion Post 447 was on hand to sell ice-chilled beer, soda and water, and Buff's Restaurant provided a delicious serving of ribs. The Latham United Methodist Church Youth group prepared on-site mouth-watering donuts; and the local Girl Scout Troop # 1070 sold their renown Girl Scout Cookies.